New Column: Snap! How Split-Second Decisions Imperil Youth

Wallace releases new column on teen brains and decision-making, highlighting the neurological changes taking place during adolescence and early adulthood – and how those changes affect decision-making.

Indeed, parents – and other adults – are often puzzled by the choices that young people make! And, sometimes young people themselves are surprised by their own behavior. I know from my experience working with teens that their decisions can run counter to their values, wishes, and plans. How can we explain this phenomenon? Easily. It is directly linked to a naturally occurring, developmental rebuilding of the brain during adolescence and early adulthood. Now, this doesn’t mean that teens are hard wired to make destructive decisions, only that during this period of massive cognitive reorganization they may be more susceptible to making poor choices than was thought before the advent of new, groundbreaking neurological research. Here’s an excerpt from the column:

Educating young people about the dangers inherent in their everyday lives is not an assignment for the faint of heart. It takes reams of information, no small amount of courage, and tenacity not easily maintained. Yet, as we enter one of the most dangerous seasons for teens, the call to action has never been greater.

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